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Joshua Fenton Transforms BBC Gardeners

Gravesend Landscaper Joshua Fenton Transforms BBC Gardeners’ World Live Exhibit into Haven for ellenor Hospice Patients


Gravesend Landscaper Joshua Fenton Transforms BBC Gardeners’ World Live Exhibit into Haven for ellenor Hospice Patients



“Creating this garden for ellenor has been a deeply fulfilling journey. I believe that amidst the challenges of life-limiting illnesses, providing a serene and beautiful environment can offer solace and comfort to patients and their families. Gardens have a unique ability to soothe and restore, and I hope that 'Lunatica' will be a source of joy and tranquillity for everyone who visits.”


When we think of giving to charity, we usually think of donating our money; our time; our possessions.


But Gravesend local Joshua Fenton, owner of family-run landscaping business Fenton Gardens, is taking his desire to support ellenor – a hospice charity providing palliative and end-of-life care to people with life-limiting illnesses in Kent and Bexley – one step further.


What’s Joshua donating, you ask? A complete garden. The Show Garden will debut at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, starting on 13 June, at APL Avenue which showcases the skills of talented member companies of the Association of Professional Landscapers. With just 4 weeks before the show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Joshua and his team are hard at work crafting their bespoke garden. It will then be showcased, alongside the work of other renowned UK landscapers, to capture the hearts of gardening aficionados nationwide.


After the event ends on 16 June, the garden will embark on a new journey - heading back down the M40 to begin a new life – as part of ellenor hospice’s brand-new Wellbeing Wing.


We are deeply grateful to Joshua Fenton and his team at Fenton Gardens for their incredible generosity and dedication in creating this beautiful garden” says Michelle Kabia, Chief Executive of ellenor. “This serene space will provide people receiving care, their families and our staff with a much-needed place of peace and solace. Such an environment can have a profound impact on their wellbeing, offering comfort during challenging times. We are thrilled to see this garden become an integral part of our hospice and our new Wellbeing Centre”.


The Wellbeing Centre is an extension of ellenor’s existing facilities in Northfleet. The project, which broke ground in May 2023, will add many new facilities and rooms – including spaces for counselling, activities, and complementary therapy – as well as quiet areas for people and their families. For children, we are incorporating a play therapy room, plus a large multipurpose area to


support a wide range of activities; for staff, it will host ellenor’s leading education and training programmes.


And now, thanks to the generosity of Joshua and the team at Fenton Gardens – his Kent-based landscaping, design, and maintenance business – the exciting aspirations of ellenor’s Wellbeing Centre will have a lush landscaped garden to match.


ellenor does incredibly important work,” says Joshua, who was motivated by the desire to provide people receiving care and families with a tranquil, beautiful bit of greenery to enjoy while at the hospice’s Coldharbour Road home. And, as he explains, a garden can act as a remarkable tonic.


“Even if a garden might not completely distract you from what’s going on in your personal life, it does provide a very immersive experience. Gardens have the ability to soothe, to calm; to give us respite from stress. Just think of the way you feel walking in a wood, seeing the light dappling through the leaves of the trees, or feeling dewy grass on your bare feet. As humans, we’ve evolved to be in woodland, among nature. It puts us at ease. You get the same feeling from a good garden.”


As for what that garden is going to look like, well – “good” is an understatement!


Named “Lunatica,” the garden will be built around the themes of moonlight and water – with a sustainable approach to the latter ensuring ellenor’s new garden will be environmentally friendly. A wicking bed below the soil will keep the plants hydrated from below and is more resource-efficient and effective than manual, top-down watering. These measures ­– which rely on small reservoirs placed in the ground – will help ensure ellenor is doing its bit to use water more sustainably.


“Lunatica isn't just a garden; it's a whisper of sustainability amidst blossoms. Joshua's design dances with water's whispers and plants' silent symphony, a gentle reminder of our duty to nurture the earth we call home” says Joshua.


Joshua’s show garden will also feature a plunge pool, a composting toilet, and an eco-shower which – via hot rocks from the garden’s wood-burning outdoor cooker – will enable warm water. (These won’t, however, be a feature of the garden at ellenor due to logistical and health/safety reasons.)


Designing and building an entire garden (let alone one to be featured at one of the UK’s biggest gardening events is no mean feat – especially when it will involve transporting the whole thing to ellenor after the show and refitting it to meet the specificities of the hospice charity’s location and requirements.


However, Joshua is motivated by a vision as vivid – and verdant – as the plants he cultivates. A vision not only of how the garden will feel to look at, or walk among, when it’s installed at ellenor: but of what that garden can mean to the patients and families it’s there for.


“Above all, I want this garden to serve the people that come to ellenor. I want it to be a welcome space for them, a place of happiness. A place they can sit and feel peace for a while and that, even if they’re just looking out their window at it, will always make their day that bit more beautiful.”



Joshua’s efforts aren’t the first time a Gravesend local has used a green thumb to support ellenor. Through the hospice charity’s Glorious Gardens initiative, residents can open their gardens to the public for a small donation, which feeds into the funds – around £7 million each year – ellenor must raise to continue supporting patients and families facing life-limiting illnesses throughout Kent and Bexley.


So, if you live locally and have a garden that deserves the limelight, find out how to open your garden for ellenor online, or call our Supporter Care team on 01322 626 509. To support us another way, please make a tax-free donation to ellenor to help us continue being here for local patients and families facing life-limiting illness. Thank you.

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